Backpacking in Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
Ok....I've been negligent with my blog for about a year now and I have no excuses. Instead I will just dive right back in and try to catch up on the going's on down in Ferg-Town.
For the first installment of this come back tour, we jump back to July 2008 when the Fergs and Icklers (plus their two trail puppies) took 3 days to go backpacking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, just west of Boulder. After we got the permitting all sorted out we found the trailhead and began hiking steadily upward through some of the most gorgeous landscape this side of heaven. I've been avoiding this wilderness area just because I've heard how crowded the trails get, being so close to Boulder and all, but now I see why everyone swarms here. It's abso-freaking-amazing! The mountains got a ton of snow last winter, and we were rewarded with miles of vivid wildflowers. It kicked off a new obsession of mine, which is to document and identify wildflowers. I must have taken over 50 pictures of different wild flower species, despite the eye-rolling and knowing sighs of my party.
Our first night we camped at Bob and Betty Lakes near tree line. I laid in the tent feeling a bit nauseous due to altitude sickness, but luckily it wore off around 9:00 and I managed to eat some cold leftovers. The next morning we set off to cross over the continental divide which formed the backdrop for our lovely lake the night before. There were fewer wildflowers up here in the alpine environment, but still the scenery was out of this world.
Across the divide and still above tree line, we had great views of the Winter Park ski area. Unfortunately we also were able to survery the vast damage inflicted by the bark beetle, which is slowing killing the pine trees in the Rockies.
We hiked along the divide for most of the day, then crossed back over again to begin our secent to our next campsite. It was a calm, sunny day and in the distance we heard a male elk bugle his eerie cry into the wild, looking for a mate.
We had only one snow field to cross, but it was a doozy since it was incredibly steep and emptied into a scree field. We got some cuts on our hands from trying to slow our slide down the ice, but in the end everyone made it through safely, even the doggies.
Our next campsite was still beautiful but since it was now a Saturday night we had to share with a lot more campers, as well as a storm of mosquitoes which made things pretty miserable for a while.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, napping, and of course playing chicks vs. dudes pinochle out of range of mosquito proboscices. If I remember it was a disgaceful thumpin' of the chicks. (ouch)
I made biscuits in the morning and they surprising turned out pretty good. I'm always trying to do some kind of gourmet cooking the in backcountry which more often than not ends up as fish food in whatever lake we happen to be camping near, so having this recipe work was nice for both the belly and the ego. After breakfast we broke camp and started out hike down the mountain, back towards the car. We were considerably more dirty and our hips and shoulders bruised, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
And if the puppies are tired at the end of the day, you know it was a good trip.